In Quebec, winter frost is one of the determining factors influencing vine survival and yield. To evaluate the quality of the different types of winter protection, ground temperature data under different covers (ground knolls, leaf mounds, carried over snow and natural snow) and ambient air temperatures were recorded. Results show that the Seyval blanc, if not protected against winter frost, can sustain quite serious damages when the air temperature reaches -30 °C. Ridging, leaf covering and the natural snow cover as well as carried over snow have a positive effect on ground temperatures, since over the site without protection, frost penetrated down to a depth of 50 cm. However, it seems that the root System did not sustain significant damages from the ground frost since regrowth occurred in the Spring. Because of its direct exposure to radiation and surface climatic conditions, bare soil warms up more quickly in the Spring compared to the other sites benefiting from protection. Results also indicate that the mortality rate of the vine stock fruit buds without protection is nearly 100 % compared to the protected vine stocks with a fruit bud mortality rate varying from 22.5 to 35.8 %. The protected vine stocks, regardless of the type of protection used, had satislactory yields from 7.2 t/ha to 24.4 t/ha. On the other hand, the raisin yield of the vine stocks without any winter protection is null. The best raisin yields were obtained over sites where vine stocks were protected by ridging (40 cm of earth), while the vine stocks protected by leaf covering showed an average yield. We also observed that when vine stock leaf covering is coupled with lodged vine shoots, raisin yields are higher than when the vine shoots are erect. However, in both cases, potential yield per hectare is satisfactory. Hence, the lodging of vine shoots becomes a useless operation. The vine stocks protected by natural snow as well as by leaf covering (30 cm + carried over snow and lodged vine shoots) gave the fruit with the highest sugar content. Snow is also an excellent insulator because a 37 cm high snow cover permitted the survival of the vine stocks protected by snow even when the temperature reached -30 °C. The only problem still posing a threat is snow cover variability during the winter season. A reduced snow cover, coupled with temperature conditions under the threshold of tolerance of the vine to cold, could not insure satisfactory protection ol the fruit buds.
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